Letters for August 20, 2015

Not alt enough

Re “Feelin’ the Bern” (Cover story, by Paul Heintz, Aug. 13):

It was disappointing to read the cover story in the Aug. 13 issue. It was an article reprinted from a Vermont newspaper that was several weeks old. There wasn’t any mention of the enthusiastic grassroots effort going on in Chico for the Bernie Sanders campaign. I attended the organizational meeting on July 29, when 170 people came out to volunteer for the campaign in 100 degree weather at the Chico Grange Hall.

Why not report on the vibrant Bernie Sanders grassroots campaign going on in Chico? Over 600 people have already joined the local Facebook group “North Staters for Bernie” since it started a month or so ago. There was also no information in the article about the huge turnouts for Bernie’s rallies in Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles. One would expect our local “alternative” newspaper to offer better coverage of the Bernie Sanders phenomenon than what is typical of the mainstream media.

Kathy Williams


Two views on labels

Re “Out of the DARK” (Editorial, Aug. 13):

This food safety issue is perhaps the single most important challenge of our generation. If we organize, we could have some effect on the unsustainable practices currently on a demolition course with our health. We know that Medicare and health care costs are unsustainable parts of our national, as well as personal budgets, yet we allow the ag business to make us sick with untold numbers of insane, nonfood ingredients added during the growing and processing of our food.

Am I the only one who sees this? Am I the only one who’s angry and ready to do something about it? What if Cesar Chavez were here and had the tools we do, like Facebook? What would he do? I suggest two paths to taking back our power: banking and oil. Everybody in the whole world could pick just one bank and we all withdraw our money the same week, for just a week. Can we imagine what impact that would have? What statement that would send? It would have the bankers shaking in their boots! At the same time, we could all boycott gasoline. Just a couple of days of most of us not filling up might have an incredible impact on the oil industry’s practices.

Julie Barrett


Yes, we should all know what’s in the food we’re eating. The problem is that we are attempting to feed a growing population and sometimes failing. GMO will assist us. There have been countless scientific studies showing no harm to people from GMO foods. See Scientific American’s articles on the subject.

The bottom line is that this is not a liberal vs. conservative issue. Those believing GMOs are bad for us are ignoring the science, much like climate change deniers. When we label GMOs on food products, people get nervous. When a rule was passed in France for such labeling, in effect, it killed those products. With all the junk foods we eat, it seems ridiculous to be afraid of something that’s been scientifically proven to be harmless.

Some other advantages of GMOs are less pesticides, better nutrition and cheaper foods.

I am a little torn on this issue because I believe we should know what’s in our food, but if it means the end of GMOs, I’d say not label it at all. Besides, what foods do we eat now that haven’t been modified over time to suit our tastes?

Chuck Samuels


Casting Stone

Re “Politicking all around” (Second & Flume, by Melissa Daugherty, Aug. 13):

Last year, Chico City Councilman Randall Stone was politically attacked by the former police chief, the police union president and a police officer. So Stone responded by pointing out the officer had possibly racist postings on his public Facebook page. And the city can get sued for it. Turns out, the law gives the city employees the right to rip their boss’ boss (Stone), but Stone had given up some First Amendment rights by getting elected.

Stone gets ripped by speakers at City Council meetings and in the newspapers on a regular basis. As an elected official, he is an employee of us, and he just has to take it. And the city clerk records this for the public record. Recently, Stone criticized the city clerk (who is a direct employee of the council) in a public way, and legal action was threatened for creating a hostile work environment.

Stone is compensated $20,000 as a councilman. City Clerk Debbie Presson is compensated $200,000. Former Police Chief Mike Maloney’s pension is $150,000 a year. Police union President Peter Durfee is compensated $140,000 for being an officer. And Officer Todd Boothe earns $150,000. The laws that shield city employees are too stringent, and they stifle open public debate.

Michael Jones


Judge, jury and executioner: “Gentleman, I will not tolerate a mockery to be made of my courtroom; approach the bench please!”

Confucius: “Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes.”

Yoda: “Randall Stone again, this is… hmmmmm? Croaking frog of Council Pond in glass house should not throw Stone’s at others? Learned lesson, no? Transparency what you seek, yes?

Confucius: “Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that carry them far apart.”

Polonius: “Madness in his method, maybe.”

Falstaff: “Discretion better part of valor.”

“Slip” Mahoney: “Incriminatin’! Absotootly incriminatin’! Throw da bum out!”

Einstein: “Ya! Transparency = Bigotry + Humiliating Public Accusations x Jumping the Gun divided by Ethical Behavior Exonerated by Kangaroo Court Gratitude squared!”

Rick Vagts


Questions for the sheriff

Re “Jailhouse economy” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, Aug. 13):

I support a modernized jail that provides a humane environment for violent criminals away from society that’s a safe work environment for officers. On the other hand, after reading this story, I don’t support the sheriff’s reason for building a new jailhouse.

The sheriff is quoted: “[individuals with] medical issues, mental disorders, and drug and alcohol dependency” should be “stabilized while in custody, then we … continue collaborating with Behavioral Health to achieve a continuity of care when … released.”

How does the sheriff envision officers properly and professionally engaged with individuals suffering medical issues, mental disorders, and drug and alcohol dependency? Will officers receive training as EMTs and addiction specialists to provide proper and professional care before they collaborate with Behavioral Health? What are the medical issues he’s referring to? And will the sheriff or his officers maintain a recovery program as rigorous as a rehabilitation facility?

The grant should build a new jail for violent criminals and a new Behavioral Health facility for nonviolent individuals in need of an authority to help them. Providing treatment in jail isn’t the same thing as a recovery program instead of jail. Incarceration is not the same thing as treatment.

Jennifer White


Reader diagnosis

Re “Tapping big data” (Healthlines, by Howard Hardee, Aug. 6):

I just read Howard Hardee’s interview with healthcare opportunist Kyle Silvestro. Purely out of compassion for the hyper-impatient Mr. Silvestro’s health, my smartphone took a CAT scan of the metadata of his abdomen from your paper’s photo. Quick as I could snap my algorithms, I made his diagnosis—FOS (medically trained personnel will recognize this).

Thanks to the growing boatload of “data-driven” leaches like SyTrue, I have less time to spend with my patients who in one way or another pay my wages for their time spent.

Pawning themselves off as members of my “healthcare team” in “official required response” multipage letters, companies like Silvestro’s: 1) tell me to do things to my patients that I already know about, 2) give me information about my patients that is frequently wrong. Where’s the patient’s right to privacy gone? And where’s my paycheck for spending time with my new “team”?

Anyone who thinks this technology will improve any area of health care other than their wallets needs a psychiatrist. My medical advice to the family is to beam Mr. Silvestro back into cyberspace where he can re-become a long series of ones and zeros, mostly the latter.

Paul O’Rourke-Babb


A grand idea

On the start of a new school year, as a community let’s extend the same opportunity to young, artistic talent that we offer to our FFA and 4H youth. Consider commissioning a project or artwork that supports their talents. Personally, I have a recently constructed 12-by-18 wooden pergola that is, literally, pining for youthful artwork. And $300 awaits the successful design and application.

Jim Fiack


Pork chop or candidate?

Re “The Trump appeal” (Editorial, Aug. 13):

Years ago a youngster informed me that getting high with a “Trump Tower” was all in vogue—this being a vodka-soaked tampon inserted “wherever.” Since then, I never hear a reference to The Donald’s signature real estate holding without making at least some connection to “wherever.”

I see candidate Trump was hobnobbing with the little people—aka voters—in Iowa. He flew onto the Iowa State Fairgrounds in a black chopper and gave kids free rides. Wait a second—aren’t black helicopters the nightmare mechanical goblins of right-wing conspiracy nuts? What the hell was Trump doing with those kids? Probably vaccinating them and brushing their teeth with fluoride!

Donald was also photographed holding a pork chop on a stick—some Iowa thing, I guess. At first I could tell Donald from the pork chop. But after a few seconds, I got confused. Which one was Donald? I realized the frontrunner’s face is more ham than chop and the stick/neck is stubbier. Wow, I thought I was losing it.

It’s a good practice to read a Trump quote every day—like this one: “Don’t get sidetracked. If you do get sidetracked, get back on track as soon as possible.”

Patrick Newman


Asking for help

Re “Ministry in need” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Cooper, Aug. 13):

I wasted too many years of my life making wrong choices and stupid mistakes. Twelve years ago, I found myself in a position that I needed to change the way I lived. I went to the Well Ministry of Rescue (now the Chico Rescue Mission). Through the program taught by the Well, and God’s word in the Holy Bible, I have been making the right choices and being successful in all that I do.

I pray many others will come to support this mission as it continue to serve our community, giving men the opportunity to change and live productive lives. Chico Rescue Mission offers its services free of change to those in need and relies on donations from the community. We are currently working on purchasing the property for this mission and are asking for your help do do this.

Donations can be made to Chico Rescue Mission, 2612 Esplanade, Chico, CA, 95973.

David Jackson


Good job, school board

I walked on the Chico High campus this week to help a neighbor get acquainted with a school I attended in a previous life. I loved the changes I saw in the gymnasium and new buildings.

Teachers are excited to have a new principal and look forward to needed improvements. I commend the school board for removing leadership at CHS and the district office that staff said was poor or cancerous. It’s been hard to watch the rapid decline of our school district in recent years, hear all the negativity from staff, but I hope that like a bad stock market, CUSD has finally hit bottom.

I have spent some time working with some charters schools that have blossomed, and I am a firm believer that there is enough room for all approaches in education. Whether our taxes help the school on one side of the street or the other, it really doesn’t matter. All we want are good schools everywhere. If CUSD can learn how the charters in town have done so well, then everyone benefits. Our youth deserve it.

Jennifer Santelli

Los Molinos

Hear, hear

Re “Let’s talk about it” (Letters, Aug. 13):

Linda Furr’s wonderful letter hits the nail on the head. The terms capitalism, communism, fascism and Zionism—the causes of endless war for the last four generations—need to be clearly defined before anymore blood is shed.

Furr is a peacemaker and this would be a major move toward truth and peace.

Anne Blake


Suggested reading

The interesting and timely article published in the Aug. 8 Greenways section titled “Calling all authors” offers information on several well-known writers who have emphasized the eminent dangers of global warning. Among these authors is the prolific late J.G. Ballard as well as the more current authors Barbara Kingsolver and Margaret Atwood. For any reader interested in this topic, I would also strongly recommend the recently released and highly compelling drought-centric novel The Water Knife, by Paolo Bacigalupi, as excellent further reading. Check it out.

Dave Kilbourne


On overtaxation

Aquatic centers, solar power, new sports arenas around Sacramento, etc. The question is why our politicians want to destroy our wealth by investing in entertainment and doubly expensive electricity, particularly since businessmen will not increase production and employment until workers are capable of paying down debt and increasing expenditures.

Unfortunately, while democracy and capitalism are both succumbing to government overspending, public greed, and the faulty allocation of financial resources, the problem is amplified by the leaders of government and its related entities. In order to maintain their power, they must increasingly provide a free lunch even more grandiose than the public can stomach, and hence we often find that their policies are shrouded in falsehood and deceit.

Thus, while our school board obscures the cash bonus and cumulative 9.2 percent raise given to our teachers, they completely hide the additional 4.3 percent of their salary that we will be paying into their pension fund for the years 2014 and 2015 combined. Another 4.3 percent will be added next year (Assembly Bill 1469). Their poorly managed total compensation for 10 months work will be about $60 per hour.

When cities and water and power companies help bankrupt our workers and the elderly with increased fees and rates, they speak of uncontrollable external cost increases, rather than overcompensated and underfunded employees.

Norman Elarth